Speed Up Tattoo Removal
“I want it yesterday.” Tattoo removal is like that. Once the decision is made, we want it done. There is still no safe, non-scarring method for instant tattoo removal. The fact is that it takes multiple treatments to remove a tattoo. It ranges from 5 to 15 sessions. Sessions must be spread apart to avoid burning and scarring. This means removal takes anywhere from 6 months to two (or even more) years. Here are some tips for minimizing tattoo removal time.
- Exercise: Part of tattoo removal is what the body does after. The laser breaks up the pigment in the ink but the body does the real work by flushing it through the system. It’s important that to have good circulation. Regular exercise boosts circulation and is one of the best ways to help the tattoo heal and fade.
- No Smoking: Smoking constricts the blood vessels so particles don’t move through the system as easily. A smoker who is serious about tattoo removal should consider quitting or cutting back significantly. It otherwise may take longer to remove the tattoo.
- Keep the Area Pale – this means not tanning the tattoo or the immediate area around it. The laser operates by differentiating between the tattoo and skin, sending wavelengths of light that will be absorbed by the tattoo and not the surrounding skin. With greater contrast between the two, the intensity of the laser light may be increased without hyperpigmentation (a darkening of the skin) or hypopigmentation (a lightening of the skin). If the skin color is close to that of the tattoo, treatments must be more conservative which means it will take more treatments to remove the tattoo. So stay out of the sun or wear skin protection (sunscreen or clothing).
- Take time between treatments. The minimum is 4-5 weeks between treatments but waiting longer may be ideal. It is a misconception that laser treatments performed closer together will speed the removal process up. It is not necessarily true. Some patients need fewer treatments when taking long breaks between appointments. It also happens with those in the military who are deployed and are forced to postpone treatments. Remember, most of the work happens when going about daily life; treatment just gets it started.